An Unconference Survival Guide

Yes, it’s Unconference time once again folks.

Planned to coincide with the National Online Recruitment Awards (NORAs) being held in the evening, and with the usual variety and quality of track leaders that has come to be expected of such events, #truNORA has all the hallmarks of what should prove to be yet another success story for the Unconference format.

In preparation for the grand event, I thought I’d share a quick Unconference survival check list of those key ingredients needed to get the most out of the day. It’s simple really, all you need is…

  • An opinion. Remember, this is a discussion led event so regardless of your experience, please pipe up with your own outlook to get debate flowing.
  • An open mind.  When it comes to social media especially, everyone and no one’s an expert, so be prepared to take on board those new ideas.
  • Fully charged batteries. Unlike regular conferences, tweeting and blogging is actively encouraged. Wi-fi is available on site so make sure you take advantage of it all day, they’ll be lots to share!

And a few things that you won’t be needing…

  • A Presentation. Although each session has a track leader, they are there to act as an instigator, not a presenter –remember, this is a discussion led event.
  • Powerpoint. People make eye contact with each other, not a screen.
  • Name Badges. No need to assess someone before chatting- if you see someone you don’t know that you’d like to, go say hi!

So there you have it, the bare essentials for making the most of an Unconference, what more could be easier?

Don’t forget to follow the Twitter back channel at #truNORA to keep on top of the discussion…

Sarah

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Merry Christmas!

After an uncharacteristic silence, The Twintettes are back and we thought what better way to start the new week than with some festive cheer?! Yes, apparently it’s that time again already, or at least according to one recently spotted Soho office…

So start planning those festive celebrations and embrace the new season as it descends once again… Merry Christmas guys!

A Sound Investment?

One of the most frequent problems recruiters face when it comes to social media is quantifying the monetary value. With an already packed schedule and targets to meet, reluctance is understandable when it comes to taking on more work without seeing immediate payback.

Happy ClockSo, is social media really worth investing the time in?

The simple answer to this is yes.

Why? To begin with, even if the direct benefits from social media cannot be seen, the detriment of not having it can be. One of the first things that a potential client or candidate will do is perform a quick search on their prospective companies of choice. Those that appear engaged with their consumers will immediately be favoured over those who appear to take the lazy backseat.

Secondly, it’s important to remember that it isn’t the size of a company’s networks that matter but the quality. A group constructed of 100 inactive members is no more than a database of names. However, a group of 20 sector specific, engage members can provide a goldmine of industry information and start to work for you in influencing other members of the profession. The average recruiter already has people who they regularly contact for industry information, so to continue these relationships online is an easy start to creating extended communities without generating a lot more work. In short, if targeted correctly, social media won’t take much more time than should already be spent nurturing contacts.

Lastly, if the time for this truly can’t be squeezed in a day, hiring a social media representative is an easy work around. For larger companies especially, this can be a sensible way to maintain consistent branding and message continuity. At the cost of an intern wage there can be a goldmine of free media coverage just waiting at your finger tips.

Sarah Fuller

Generalise-Y

There was a lot of discussion at #truManchester about this so-called ‘Generation-Y’, with two entire tracks dedicated to the theme. Debate raged about who actually Gen-Y refers to, and the topic cropped up even in seemingly unrelated tracks.

In my mind the debate centres around one central premise- is Gen-Y an age group or a mindset? Plenty of articles and some of the #truManchester participants argue for an age group, but where the boundaries lie, there is no agreement. Is it a child of the ‘80s? Someone over fourteen when HTML was invented? Those born since 1978? (Perhaps some   wishful Gen-Yer there…)

My problem with the age definition is that it results in sweeping views of how ‘young people’ behave and has given rise to a spate of Sunday magazine filler. This is besides the arbitrary approach to differences in education, attitude and upbringing. It is frustrating, if not dangerous, that some fail to recognise that not all of this group are middle class, nor do they all have access to constant online communication.

This is why I believe the argument of ‘Gen-Y’ representing a mindset is more convincing. If we’re going to talk about Gen-Y in the sense of communication style, then surely attitude is the only unifying factor. More accurate perhaps, would be the term, ‘Internet generation’, applicable not only to those who have been connected since birth, but also to people who are completely comfortable online. Having been at #truManchester, I can testify that there are certainly a good number about; in fact many are more communication savvy than some ‘Gen-Yers by birth.’

The term Gen-y is probably going to stick around for a while, if only to provide ‘Gen X’ with an object of fascination. (Watch out for Gen-Z though, they’re already on the up apparently…) For now I will be taking all pronouncements on the topic with a pinch of salt…Or should that be the irony beloved of Gen-Y?

-Siobhan Morrin

A #Tru Gen Y Experience

Really, what is the fuss about Gen Y?

Being labelled as one myself and yet still unsure exactly what this meant, I was relieved to find many others at the truManchester unConference equally confused. However, after much debate and from everything I saw t’up north, for all the hype there might be about the new technology obsessed Gen Y’ers, the true masters of the social media phenomenon are our older, wiser counterparts. 

Pierced Gen Y'er

Am I Really Gen Y?

Having grown up in an environment where the phrase ‘to Google someone’ got you a dirty look and text speak was unheard of, those savvy members of what’s affectionately been termed Generation X are far more switched on when it comes to capitalising on the new technologies out there.* Perhaps it’s having to actively learn how to use these channels rather than picking them up organically that makes the difference.

Learning exactly how to use a tool rather than playing about to watch celebrities must definitely have its advantages. Combine this with the personal experience gained from being a longterm member of an industry and you’ve created a social media monster – of the good kind.

The Breakfast Club

The Real Social Media Experts?

Of course, there will always be those that struggle but that’s the same across both generations. It is for that fact that I propose to end with the (slightly cringey) cliché: you’re only as young as you tweet you are…

* – If you need proof of the appropriate use of affectionate here, do a quick Google image search: Gen X displays our favourite mullet wearing crowd of The Breakfast Club; Gen Y, a painfully over-pierced youth – a true stereotype if ever I saw one – but that’s for another post!

Sarah Fuller

#truManchester: Day 2!

After 2 days of busy networking and absorbing information, The Twintettes are now back in London and bursting with ideas, excited to start taking the social media world head on!

The following are a string of posts themed on some of the main discussion points we encountered at truManchester – as a small disclosure, all opinions expressed are out own interpretation of conversations, if we got the wrong end of the stick at any point we apologise!

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our mentors, Bill Boorman and Jack Barton for making this ‘field trip’ possible – a big thanks guys!

#truManchester: Day 1!

So, day 1 down and what have we learnt? Answer: videos are the way forward, Gen Y confuses everyone and savvy recruiters laugh in the face of Facebook privacy settings…

Full update and videos to come!

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